Punjab

Badal writes to PM for Rs.100 bonus over and above Wheat MSP

April 01, 2015 11:33 PM

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today sought personal intervention of the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to compensate the farmers for the loss due to untimely rains & hailstorms by providing a bonus of Rs.100 per quintal over and above the MSP of Wheat for the Rabi Marketing Season for 2015-16.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Badal apprised him that Punjab had been contributing about 30-35% of wheat procured for the Central Pool for buffer stock operations. However, the MSP for wheat has been fixed as Rs.1450/- per quintal for the marketing session 2015-16 whereas the farmers were paid Rs.1400/- per quintal during last year. Practically, this marginal increase in MSP does not even cover the increase in the cost of inputs viz. fertilizers, diesel, labour etc. during the last one year. Based on the use of inputs in this State practicing intensive cultivation, the State Govt. had suggested a minimum price of Rs.1900/- per quintal for wheat.

The Chief Minister further brought in the notice of Mr. Modi that the untimely rains and hailstorm in the State during the February and March have caused heavy damage to the Rabi Crops in about 3.48 lac hectares in the State. Towards the end of February and in March, Rabi crops are at the maturing and flowering stage and these need less irrigation. Wheat is the major Rabi Crop in the State an occupies an area of about 35 lac hectares.

Mr. Badal further pointed out that the heavy rains and hailstorm during this period have resulted in lodging of the wheat crop. The farmers had to incur extra expenditure to drain out the excessive water accumulated in their fields due excessive rain to save their crop. Moreover, the hailstorms accompanied by high velocity winds have resulted in flattening of the crop which will lead to reduction in yield and as well as more harvesting cost. The high input cost, extra expenditure on draining out excessive water from the fields and loss of the maturing crop has put hardworking farmers of the state under tremendous stress.

The Chief Minister added that insofar as area with loss of 50% or more is concerned, it would be known only after our revenue inspectors i.e. Patwaries have done special girdawri i.e. harvest inspection and accordingly, the farmers will be provided the relief from SRDF.   However, there is a substantial resentment amongst the farmers for the likely loss in their income due to reduction in productivity of wheat crop, which was otherwise expected to be a bumper one. In the absence of a suitable crop insurance product, there was no instrument available to compensate the farmers for the loss in productivity which is estimated to be 5-7%.

Summing up the Chief Minister, urged the Centre to provide a bonus of Rs.100/- per quintal over and above MSP of wheat to compensate the farmers who are already in distress due to reduction in yield and also likely deterioration of quality of produce because of unseasonal rainfall. It needed no emphasis that a remunerative price was a must to encourage the farmers to invest in agriculture and also to ensure the National Food Security, added Mr. Badal.

Urging the GoI, the Chief Minister also pleaded that the affected farmers would not be able to repay their loans in time as such the interest subvention for the timely repayments should be allowed to the distressed farmers for the current Rabi season.

Welcoming the announcement made by the Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley that the relief amount for the natural calamities would be suitably enhance, Mr. Badal requested that it should be increase to at least Rs. 10,000 per acre to adequately compensate the beleaguered farmers.

It may be recalled that the state government had already submitted a comprehensive proposal to the Centre for providing a special package of Rs.717 crore to give financial assistance to the farmers who have suffered a loss in crop productivity due to these weather abrasions in an cultivable area over 3.48 lac hectares.

 
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